Becoming agile means that the enterprise must be able to keep itself together and avoid any gaps between the business environment, the business processes and the IT systems. Efficiency, on the other hand, is about streamlining, automating and optimizing processes and removing redundant processes. Efficiency is also about becoming better at reusing IT investments and making sure that when the business is trying to respond to changes, the IT systems can easily, and at reasonable cost, be adapted to support those changes instead of becoming obstacles.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a practice of describing the current and desired state of processes, rules, resources, roles, organizational units and information systems within an enterprise, with the overall goal to align them all with the objectives and strategies of the enterprise. Common requirements that modern enterprise architectures are supposed to handle and support are increased agility and efficiency. This also explains why BPM and SOA has become so widely adopted by enterprises:
- Business Process Management (BPM) is a field of knowledge combining management expertise with information technology capabilities that guides on how to model, design, implement, govern, measure and analyze operational business processes so that they align with business objectives and strategies, but also so that processes can be streamlined, automated, optimized for performance and/or removed if being redundant.
- Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an architecture for information systems that is based on the concept of service-orientation. This means that information is made available as a service for anyone to access without knowing the underlying implementation. An IS architecture with these qualities is well suited for aligning existing and new information systems with business processes, while at the same time being able to meet business demands for flexibility and cost reduction.
So, agility and efficiency is the two main drivers behind BPM and SOA. I hope this post provided some context to these abbreviations.